No, not that one.
Or that other one.
A United flight from Newark, New Jersey, to St. Louis was diverted Thursday after the airline learned it had an unauthorized passenger onboard: a dog. The pet was bound for Akron, Ohio, but was mistakenly loaded onto the St. Louis flight, company spokeswoman Natalie Noonan told The Washington Post on Saturday.
And so the plane followed the dog's itinerary. Flight 3996 banked toward northeast Ohio after the airline "chose the fastest option to reunite the dog with his family," Noonan said.
Passengers were provided compensation for the delay, Noonan said, but she declined to describe the compensation or confirm how many passengers were onboard. CNN reported 33.
Ian Petchenic, a spokesman for the flight-data company Flightradar24, told The Post that the flight averages about two hours. This was a four-hour journey, with roughly an hour and a half spent on the ground in Akron after diverting near Columbus, he said.
The incident was United's third dog-related mishap just this week; fortunately this time, it led to a happier conclusion than the first. On Monday, a French bulldog puppy named Kokito suffocated to death in an overhead bin, after a flight attendant insisted the owner stow the dog there for a three-hour flight from Houston to New York.
United said it would take full responsibility for the "tragic accident that should never have occurred" and that pets should never be placed in the overhead bins. The Transportation Department is investigating the incident.
Then on Tuesday, another case of mistaken canine identity occurred on a United flight, sending a dog owner into a frenzy when she discovered a Great Dane in the place of her German Shepard, Irgo, in a facility at the Kansas City airport.
Kara Swindle paid to ship Irgo as cargo on a flight from Oregon to Kansas, but instead the German Shepard was put on a flight to Japan. The mix-up occurred during connecting flights in Denver. The airline vowed to return both dogs to their respective owners, and on Thursday, Irgo's journey of thousands of miles entered in a happy, tail-wagging reunion.
Noonan declined to say if the company is creating or modifying regulations after the row of dog-related mishaps.
The company appears especially challenged by pet incidents. Last year, the airline, one of the largest in the world, carried about a quarter of the total number of animals transported by air in the United States, but it was responsible for 18 of the 25, or more than 70 percent, of flight-related pet deaths last year, according to Transportation Department data.
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